Tough 'Knight' for Goins

Tennessee's Melvin Goins tends to play his best games when he's matched against an elite opposing point guard. That being the case, Goins should play lights-out Tuesday night at Rupp Arena.

Kentucky's Brandon Knight might be as fine a point guard as Goins will face all season. The 6-3, 195-pound Wildcat freshman ranks second among all SEC players in minutes (35.1 per game), fifth in scoring (17.5 points per game), sixth in assists (3.8 per game), sixth in 3-point shooting (41.7 percent) and 11th in foul shooting (78.2 percent). His only struggle is the fact he has committed 75 turnovers in the Big Blue's first 22 games.

Melvin Goins, however, is no slouch. The 5-10, 195-pound senior ranks fourth among SEC players in steals (1.6 per game), fifth in assist/turnover ratio (1.8 to 1.0) and 12th in assists (3.0 per game). Best known for his defense, he already has shut down several noteworthy point guards this season. To wit:

- He limited Virginia Commonwealth's Joey Rodriguez to 1-of-10 shooting and 5 points. Rodriguez came in averaging 18.3 points per game.

- He limited Villanova's Corey Fisher to 1-of-10 shooting and 3 points. Fisher came in averaging 18.4 points per game.

- He limited Pittsburgh's Ashton Gibbs to 4-of-13 shooting and 15 points. Gibbs came in averaging 17.4 points per game.

- He forced Memphis' Joe Jackson into more turnovers (5) than assists (4).

- He limited Ole Miss' Chris Warren to 6-of-21 shooting.

Goins has been up and down, however, and last Saturday was one of the downs. He went 0 for 7 from the field and was outscored 13-0 by Alabama point guard Trevor Releford in a 65-60 overtime loss.

Goins had better be back on his game Tuesday night because Brandon Knight is almost on par with the freshman sensation he succeeded, John Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in last June's NBA Draft.

"Brandon Knight has got length," Tennessee head man Bruce Pearl said today. "He's got every bit the feel (for the game). He's a better shooter. He's a good defender. They're comparable, with the exception of Wall's exceptional explosiveness and speed with the ball."

For Tennessee to stand any chance of upsetting the Big Blue at Rupp Arena, Goins will have to find a way to contain Knight.

"He'll be challenged in a big way," Pearl said of Goins. "They'll go at him. Brandon Knight likes to score over smaller point guards, and this will be the tallest matchup for Melvin."

Goins won't be guarding Knight the entire evening, of course, but he'll be on him more often than not.

"It's not about one guy versus another guy," Pearl said. "At some point, yeah, but a lot of the time it involves team defense. If we allow Brandon Knight to go one-on-one against anybody, everybody's going to be challenged."


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